Some general observations from Tom Taylor, joint-founder and initial chairman.
These are general observations, there are exceptions, there were ups and downs, and ins and outs.
This period covers our initiation during 1984, our founding in 1985, some fast growth to the early 90s recession which provided challenges, experience and opportunities and then further diversification and growth through to the Millennium. Here goes.
Our timing was good. From the mid 80s there was a market interest in UK in a Buro Four type approach to the management of projects. We provided professional, hands-on, front line, proactive involvement – still do; while other managers were more administrating or monitoring or reporting – still are.
Our contacts were good. They had influence, they gave us work, then they gave us more work, they recommended us to others, they took us with them when they moved – it is still happening.
We had commitment. All our people showed enthusiasm and commitment to their projects, their clients, their project teams before priority to our own organisation. This was partly to develop the business, partly because it was more fun and mainly because projects had demands and momentum. It is still that way today.
We were fortunate with our people. Not all fitted or stayed but a core has been loyal, busy and grown to be the organisation. Leavers have still remained in contact and friends usually.
From the beginning we were diverse. We were in many sectors, situations, locations – without all eggs in too few baskets – still try to be. Sometimes we had large appointments on small projects; other times we had limited tasks on medium projects; as well as major roles on major projects. It was a healthy mixture – and still is.
We were flexible and interested – arriving with different services, at different times in project life cycles, getting involved when needed or asked in issues beyond the core capital project. We wanted to solve problems or help people avoid them
We were young, talented, confident, in good health, enthusiastic, generally friendly, team players and leaders, sometimes with a touch of humour here and there – still most of these things.
The founders had £1000.00 between them which they were prepared to speculate as a cash injection and invest in the enterprise. The initial founders, further directors and senior staff bonded as a group with common purpose – although not always agreeing easily on the detail but certainly working together on the big issues.
We wanted to succeed. People wanted us to succeed. Before launching out we spent time sorting out our aspirations, directions and relationships also developing our strategies and plans. This certainly carried us through the first five years – and we also had some good advice and advisors.
All these things and probably some others – such as deciding to be London based and then also setting up elsewhere, being completely independent, having an international outlook, bringing on next generations, having a strong administrative core from early days to free up project resources, using a project plan of work and stage plans, good capabilities in time issues, adopting a design friendly / supportive / interested approach – all contributed to early success, growth, momentum and further investment to be an organisation which is more than the sum of its past, present and future commissions and workload.